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Avg. Price Paid:$10,291 - $18,308
Original MSRP: $24,390 - $38,530
MPG: 12 City / 17 Hwy
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2008 Nissan Titan Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Nissan Titan was new.

Reviewers are very pleased with the 2008 Nissan Titan's capabilities on the road. Automobile Magazine explains that the truck has "a husky V-8 and suspension gear worthy of every pickup cowboy's respect."

USA Today also praises the overall experience. "The truck has many appealing features, the overriding one being that it drives very well," its writer says. "Steering, brakes, handling, ride, go-power -- all are first rate." Reviewers say one of the Titan's best features is its strong V8 engine, with the smooth automatic transmission placing a close second. In fact, when considering the truck's hauling and towing capabilities, most reviewers agree that there's only one clear problem, as explained by the Chicago Tribune. "Titan's 5.6-liter provides plenty of power," but "you'll need plenty of petroleum, too," the reviewer says.

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Nissan Titan only provides one engine option, but the Orlando Sentinel considers that one of the truck's best attributes. "Buy the cheapest Titan model, a rear-wheel-drive King Cab XE...and you still get the same engine and transmission as the top-of-the-line model, which can list for more than $40,000," its writer notes. The Titan's engine is an Endurance 5.6-liter V8 with 317 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque -- and reviewers couldn't be happier. Car and Driver says the engine "feels and sounds like the granddaddy of all truck engines." Consumer Guide describes how the "smooth, powerful V8 puts Titan amongst quickest large trucks off the line," and notes it "delivers ample passing power." Auto writers from Kelley Blue Book add that the V8 engine felt "strong at all speeds, with loads of power on demand."

Many note that all that engine power comes with a lot of exhaust noise, which didn't please everybody. MSN likes the sound, calling it "constant, deep, sporty" and "almost hot-rod," but Allentown Morning Call hears it differently: "The engine rumbles with authority, but becomes a droning annoyance after a while. This is a pick-up truck, not a sports car."

With such a powerful engine, Kelley Blue Book suggests that the Titan "cannot reasonably be expected to deliver the best fuel economy," a statement sufficiently backed by the Environmental Protection Agency's ratings. Both the rear-wheel and all-wheel drive Titan rate at 12 miles per gallon in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. The Sacramento Bee points out that "those are the kind of numbers likely to bring tears to the eyes while filling up the truck's 28-gallon fuel tank." Allentown Morning Call's writer also thinks tears will be shed: "It's enough to make any oil sheik weep for joy. Gas-station attendants will get to know you on a first-name basis. You'll max out your oil-company credit card."

The 2008 Nissan Titan also has only one transmission, a five-speed automatic with Tow/Haul mode. Once again, writers do not feel the need for options. Motor Trend likes that upshifts, and downshifts "are handled quickly, with no fumbling around for the right ratio." The New York Times reviewer thinks its "one of the smoothest-shifting gearboxes I have encountered in a car or truck," but Edmunds presents a caveat. "Those used to the truly neck-snapping downshifts of GM's big trucks might be a little disappointed by the Titan's smoother transitions, as they tend to mask how much power is really getting to the ground," they write.

Handling and Braking

Automobile Magazine says: "[T]he Titan's road manners are what truly distinguish this pickup from the old guard. Grab the wheel, and the road grabs back," and the majority of auto writers agree. While some are concerned that the Titan's ride is too truck-like, reviewers like MSN insist that "the Titan doesn't punish rides with shudders and undue bounciness." Edmunds adds that "the ride is definitely not pillowy soft, but there's plenty of give to soak up rough roads."

All of the 2008 Nissan Titans have an independent double-wishbone suspension with a stabilizer bar for the front, and a multi-leaf suspension with solid Dana® axle for the rear. This setup was "quick to quell secondary motions" on Consumer Guide's test drive.

Consumer Guide also finds the Titan's engine-speed-sensitive, power-assisted steering "meaty" and "accurate," opinions shared by a fair few. Motor Trend says that "steering is notably more communicative than the full-size truck norm. You can pick a line and hold it, without sawing back and forth in search of an elusive on-center feel." Meanwhile AutoWeek calls the steering "light without being overboosted, and it has a good feel." Edmunds touts the Titan's "precise, linear steering and nicely weighted effort to make the truck relatively nimble and easy to drive quickly on pavement."

The 2008 Titan has four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes that are generally regarded as providing "strong and stable retardation with a solidly communicative pedal feel," for Car and Driver and others. Brake Assist is an optional feature for the three higher trims, as part of Nissan's Side Air Bag Package.

Off-Roading

The Titan's PRO-4X is built with off-roading in mind. The trim has skid plates for the transfer case and lower radiator, a lower gear ratio for the transmission and off-road performance shocks. While the other trims feature 18-inch aluminum or steel tires, the PRO-4X has 18-inch BFGoodrich® Rugged Trail® tires to help it off the beaten path. Despite the equipment, reviews are split on the truck's off-roading. AutoWeek found the truck "performed well on our off-track testing," which consisted of rough pavement around railroad crossings. However, Car and Driver writes that the Titan "gets flexy-squeaky when pounded by bumps."

All-Wheel Drive

The 2008 Nissan Titan with all-wheel drive come standard with a brake-activated limited-slip traction control system, and has an option for a switch-operated two-speed transfer case. Car and Driver thinks this system "works with a brake-activated traction-control system for optimal grip in the rough," while the New York Times likes that the system can be switched on and off while the truck is moving. "But you must stop the truck to shift to low range for slow, heavy-duty operation," its reviewer continues. "In one instance in which the Titan falls short, it has a part-time four-wheel drive system that shouldn't be used on dry pavement."

MarketWatch's writers put the system to the test. "We took our four-wheel drive Titan down a favorite dirt road, replete with big potholes and lots of ice," they write. "It handled the trek with ease, and didn't even upset the full bottle of cola in the cup holder." Titans with four-wheel drive have a suspension system that adds Dana® axles to the front.

Hauling

Titan King Cabs have a cargo bed that's 79.1 inches long, while Crew Cabs have 67.3 inches. New for 2008, Nissan offers a long bed option that provides 20 extra inches for hauling. While most have expressed disappointment with the size of Titan's beds in the past, many concede that the truck compensates with the bed's utility. As Motor Trend says, "the Titan's bed may not be the largest in truckdom, but it does do tricks."

The Titan's premier trick is its Utili-track Bed Channel System that's optional for the SE and PRO-4X trims and comes standard with the LE trim. Noted by USA Today as a "toter's dream," Utili-track has four adjustable (and removable) tie-down cleats along the bed rail. In addition, the Utili-track System comes with accessory racks, trays and dividers. The Detroit Free Press says Utili-track's rails and clamps are "designed to secure anything from a welder's acetylene tank to a pair of dirt bikes" while PickupTruck.com likes that they're "massive and will support numerous straps pulled as tight as any two weightlifters can tug."

Another appreciated bed feature is the factory-applied spray-on bedliner that comes as an option for the XE, SE and PRO-4X and standard with the LE. As PickupTruck.com's reviewer finds, the liner "worked quite well to keep cargo from sliding and appeared to be tough enough to prevent gouges in the bed."

The Crew Cab's payload is between 1,582 pounds and 2,063 pounds and the King Cab's is between 1,650 and 2,013 pounds, depending on drive wheels and bed length.

Towing

The general consensus is that the 2008 Nissan Titan is not able to tow as much as major competitors, but still should be sufficient for most drivers' needs. The Titan has a maximum towing capacity of 7,400 pounds without a towing package.

Nissan's tow package includes a heavy-duty battery, a seven-pin wiring harness, a Class IV receiver hitch, trailer brake pre-wiring and a lower gear ratio with the five-speed automatic transmission, and will boost the truck's capacity to 9,500 pounds. These features, in addition to the standard transmission's tow/haul mode, should provide "a fine tow vehicle," Edmunds reports. AutoWeek seconds, writing that "owners who wrote to us who do tow with their trucks praised how the five-speed automatic held its gear instead of going gear hunting."

Performance Options

XE

The Titan's base trim has the 5.6 liter V6 engine, a five-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes.

SE

The SE trim has the option for Brake Assist, the Utili-track Bed Channel System and spray-on bedliner, in addition to Nissan's towing package.

PRO-4X

Nissan's off-roading trim has a transfer case and lower radiator skid plates, a lower gear ratio on the transmission and off-road performance shocks for off-roading. Drivers with the PRO-4X also have the option for Brake Assist, the Utili-track Bed Channel System, a spray-on bedliner and Nissan's towing package.

LE

The LE trim has the option for all of the above equipment, but receives the Utili-track Bed Channel System and spray-on bedliner as standard features.

Review Last Updated: 3/10/09

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